Hey Angels and Alphas,
Let’s face it – squats are basically one of the most important movements you can do for your body (and your lean muscle gain efforts.)
Not only do they help you strengthen your core and your entire lower body, but they are also super easy to perform both without any equipment and with *all* sorts of equipment from kettlebells, to dumbbells, to barbells.
And to top it off, they also mimic a pattern of movement that’s essential in your everyday life.
But chances are, you’re not reaching the full potential of your squats when you’re doing them.
Experts understand that biomechanically, the human body is designed to perform deep squats. Imagine your glutes close to your heels in your bodyweight squats, and when it comes to weighted squats, imagine a squat deep enough for your knees to form less than a 90-degree angle.
But unfortunately, most people in the gym (and outside of it) simply don’t have the ability to perform deep squats, even though they were likely able to perform them when they were younger. Most of the habits and lifestyle adaptations that come with a sedentary lifestyle lead us to not get enough varied, high-quality movement throughout the day. Over the years, and even decades, this can contribute to tight joints and tight muscles, and ultimately, not being able to squat deep enough.
The result? The range of motion, also known as depth, of your squat diminishes greatly.
And yes, yes this is something you should care about, especially if you’re all about lean muscle gain. Squatting deeply is what really allows your muscles to activate and move your joints through the full range of motion they need to function properly.
And squatting effectively means you will be getting stronger in the absolute range of motion of your body, and you’ll be able to maintain the mobility that people sort of lose when they age, especially in their knees, hips, spine, and ankles.
And do you want to know the first step to squatting deeper – and reaping all the benefits of deep squats? Figuring out what’s keeping you from dropping as low as before.
Here are 4 of the potential issues that could be standing in the way between you and a deeper squat:
#1 POOR MOBILITY
Mobility means your ability to move and control your joints through specific ranges of motion. Poor mobility means you have tight joints and tight muscles. That’s what it comes down to. This limits your movement and prevents you from squatting deeply. All of this is usually thanks to sedentary living and desk jobs.
Poor hip, spine, knee, and ankle mobility are the most common factors that affect squat depth.
Especially ankle mobility. It’s problematic for a lot of squatters. When you simply can’t bend your ankles enough, this will throw off the distribution of weight in your body. The result is that your heels lift off the ground as you tend to drop lower (that or your back flexes more than it usually should.) In addition to this poor form messing up your progress, it also puts you at such a high risk of injury it’s crazy.
#2 YOUR ANATOMY
In a few cases, it could be that your individual anatomy is simply making it more difficult for you to squat deep.
For instance, if you have long femurs (which are your upper leg bones) relative to your tibias (lower leg bones,) this means you will have a greater hip and ankle mobility when squatting deep.
This doesn’t mean you won’t be able to squat well and deep, but it does mean that you’ll likely need to put in extra mobility to get there.
#3 A WEAK CORE
When you are performing a squat, your lower body generates the force. If you can brace your core properly and your core is strong enough, that force transfers up into the bar or weight that you’re putting on your shoulders.
That being said, the weaker your core is, the more it collapses. Not only does a weak core reduce your squat strength (and therefore your range of motion,) but it also transfers force into your lower back and contributes to potential injury.
#4 WEAK GLUTES
Your glutes are the key drivers when it comes to exiting the bottom of your squat. If your glutes are weak, you will likely get stuck in that bottom position or compensate by over-recruiting your quads.
And without proper aid from your glutes, your squats will become less powerful and more likely to end up injuring you.